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Jazz in Focus: The Photos of Arthur Elgort

Known for his photographs of models in glossy magazines, the photographer reveals another passion in his new book, Jazz

David Sánchez
David Sánchez, 2000. Photo by Arthur Elgort

“I learned something early on,” Arthur Elgort says on the phone from his photography studio in Manhattan. “Jazz musicians, in general, liked pretty girls. If you brought a good-looking girl with you, the jazz musicians would say, ‘Can I take a picture with her? And you’ll send it to me? Oh, good.’”

As it happens, Elgort—an acclaimed lensman for Vogue (in all its many international iterations), Glamour, Mademoiselle, and other couture-minded glossies—has known and worked with a whole lot of good-looking girls over the last five decades. He’s also worked with a whole lot of fashion-mag editors eager to up the hipness quotient of their spreads by borrowing from the iconography of jazz, and in many cases getting actual jazz musicians involved in their shoots. When they want something jazzy, they know who to call: Elgort, who’s been an ardent fan of the music ever since first hearing Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong records as a 10-year-old Brooklynite.

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Originally Published
Mac Randall

Mac Randall

Mac Randall has been the editor of JazzTimes since May 2018. Prior to that, he wrote regularly for the magazine. He has written about numerous genres of music for a wide variety of publications over the past 30 years, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, Mojo, and Guitar Aficionado, and he has worked on the editorial staffs of Musician, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music), Guitar One, Teaching Music, Music Alive!, and In Tune Monthly. He is the author of two books, Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists. He lives in New York City.